Existing Vehicle Technology Helps Ford Innovate More Quickly
Computers are taking over our vehicles. I know many of you loathe that, and would rather have something simple and mechanical, but the advancement of technology has helped stay an innovator with new product offerings and features that weren’t possible not that long ago.
For example, Ford’s new pothole detection technology on the new Ford Fusion Sport. Using sensors located in the bumper, the car knows when it’s about to hit a pothole, and adjusts the suspension so that it’s too stiff to drop into the hole. The wheels literally glide over the hole instead of fall into them. According to AAA Northeast, potholes cost drivers $3 billion annually. That’s billion, with a “b.”
Basically the technology already existed on the Fusion to make this happen; mainly the continuously controlled dampers. While not the MagneRide magnetorheological ride control dampers that appear on the Shelby GT350 Mustang, they still are capable of reacting in milliseconds to changes in road conditions.
Another example is the Pro Trailer Backup Assist feature on the 2016 F-150. By taking advantage of technology already in place; the electronic power steering, and the rearview camera, Ford is able to engineer via software a piece of technology that many will find useful.
In the future, we can expect even more features being used for more than one purpose. The forward-facing cameras are used to detect pedestrians ahead. Those cameras will in the future be able to detect all sorts of obstacles to avoid. Combined with the sensors for adaptive cruise control, a future Ford vehicle might not be able to get in a crash, ever.
But like with Pro Trailer Backup Assist, Ford isn’t just innovating with cars. Pickup trucks are ripe for new technology and innovation to make them stronger, more capable, and better than they ever have been. The new Ford Super Duty, for example, has software to show the right angle on the backup camera when you’re trying to back up a load (Super Duty uses hydraulic power assisted steering, making Pro Trailer Backup Assist impossible).
In fact, cameras are so inexpensive now to put in vehicles, the new Super Duty has up to 7 of them for various tasks.
What we really don’t know is how Ford will use all of these sensors and technology in the distant future. Before autonomous cars arrive, we are going to have some of the most capable and intelligent vehicles that we’ve ever had in history, and I can only imagine what cool features Ford and other manufacturers will come up before we have to stop driving altogether.
What do you think some of the new things coming will be? What would you like to see, technology-wise, in your next Ford vehicle? Let us know your thoughts and comments in our comments below or over in the forums!